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17.8.09

Beijing: Instant Hutong mapping a city by means of abstract sculpture and textile



Marcella Campa and Stefano Avesani are focusing on the urban growth of Chinese cities and their transformation since 2003. They curated the monographic issue n.78 of the international magazine AREA about Chinese contemporary visual art and architecture. In June 2005 they won the international Archiprix prize in Glasgow with a project for the Hutongs in Beijing. In October 2005 they moved to China and started working on the Instant Hutong art project and on a parallel research on contemporary Chinese urban habitat. After studying and working in China and Europe, they established their own architectural practice in Beijing

Instant Hutong on the Behance Network





An ancient architectural typology has been used to build the entire city of Beijing. Every single building is considered part of the whole, that is harmonized in a kind of great horizontal monument. Like the Hutongs, also the Siheyuans were built according to a project that has remained almost unchanged since the time of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). The buildings forming each Siheyuan, organized in a sequence of courts, may house an extended family of up to three or more generations. The size and number of the courts originally depended on the social status of the owner. But regardless of the dimension, even a humble Siheyuan, that had low fences and doors rather than tall walls, featured the same plan as the residential district of the Son of Heaven in the Forbidden City.

Instant Hutong






Carpets are representing different maps of Hutong areas with a size of approximately one square kilometre and a population of 30000. Each of them has been isolated and presented as autonomous town within the big city. They are embroidered by hand with the same technique of the propaganda slogans on large fabrics used by the communist party during the seventies. The carpets have been filled with white wire wool insertions.

Urban Carpet by Instant Hutong





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